Amy Lowell ( )


Number 3 on the Docket


The lawyer, are you?
Well!  I aint got nothin to say.
Nothin!
I told the perlice I hadnt nothin.
They knowd real well twas me.
Ther warnt no supposin,
Ketchin me in the woods as they did,
An me in my house dress.
Folks dont walk miles an miles
In the drifted snow,
With no hat nor wrap on em
Ef everythins all right, I guess.
All right?  Ha!  Ha!  Ha!
Nothin warnt right with me.
Never was.
Oh, Lord!  Why did I do it?
Why aint it yesterday, and Ed here agin?
Manys the time Ive set up with him nights
When he had cramps, or rheumatizm, or somethin.
I used ter nurse him sames ef he was a baby.
I wouldnt hurt him, I love him!
Dont you dare to say I killed him.  Twarnt me!
Somethin got aholt o me.  I couldnt help it.
Oh, what shall I do!  What shall I do!
Yes, Sir.
No, Sir.
I beg your pardon, I -- I --
Oh, Im a wicked woman!
An Im desolate, desolate!
Why warnt I struck dead or paralyzed
Afore my hands done it.
Oh, my God, what shall I do!
No, Sir, ther aint no extenuatin circumstances,
An I dont want none.
I want a bolt o lightnin
To strike me dead right now!
Oh, Ill tell yer.
But it wont make no diffrence.
Nothin will.
Yes, I killed him.
Why do yer make me say it?
Its cruel!  Cruel!
I killed him because o th silence.
The long, long silence,
That watched all around me,
And he wouldnt break it.
I tried to make him,
Time an agin,
But he was terrible taciturn, Ed was.
He never spoke cept when he had to,
An then hed only say yes and no.
You cant even guess what that silence was.
Id hear it whisperin in my ears,
An I got frightened, twas so thick,
An alays comin back.
Ef Ed would ha talked sometimes
It would ha driven it away;
But he never would.
He didnt hear it same as I did.
You see, Sir,
Our farm was offn the main road,
And set away back under the mountain;
And the village was seven mile off,
Measurin after youd got out o our lane.
We didnt have no hired man,
Cept in hayin time;
An Danes place,
That was the nearest,
Was clear way tother side the mountain.
They used Marley post-office
An ours was Benton.
Ther was a cart-track took yer to Danes in Summer,
An it warnt above two mile that way,
But it warnt never broke out Winters.
I used to dread the Winters.
Seems ef I couldnt abear to see the golden-rod bloomin;
Winterd come so quick after that.
You dont know what snows like when yer with it
Day in an day out.
Ed would be out all day loggin,
An I set at home and look at the snow
Layin over everythin;
It ud dazzle me blind,
Till it warnt white any more, but black as ink.
Then the quiet ud commence rushin past my ears
Till I most went mad listenin to it.
Manys the time Ive dropped a pan on the floor
Jest to hear it clatter.
I was most frantic when dinner-time come
An Ed was back from the woods.
Id ha give my soul to hear him speak.
But hed never say a word till I asked him
Did he like the raised biscuits or whatever,
An then sometimes hed jest nod his answer.
Then hed go out agin,
An Id watch him from the kitchin winder.
It seemed the woods come marchin out to meet him
An the trees ud press round him an hustle him.
I got so I was scared o th trees.
I thought they come nearer,
Every day a little nearer,
Closin up round the house.
I never went in t th woods Winters,
Though in Summer I liked em well enough.
It warnt so bad when my little boy was with us.
He used to go sleddin and skatin,
An every day his father fetched him to school in the pung
An brought him back agin.
We scraped an scraped fer Neddy,
We wanted him to have a education.
We sent him to High School,
An then he went up to Boston to Technology.
He was a minin engineer,
An doin real well,
A credit to his bringin up.
But his very first position ther was an explosion in the mine.
And Im glad!  Im glad!
He aint here to see me now.
Neddy!  Neddy!
Im your mother still, Neddy.
Dont turn from me like that.
I cant abear it.  I cant!  I cant!
What did you say?
Oh, yes, Sir.
Im here.
Im very sorry,
I dont know what Im sayin.
No, Sir,
Not till after Neddy died.
Twas the next Winter the silence come,
I dont remember noticin it afore.
That was five year ago,
An its been gittin worse an worse.
I asked Ed to put in a telephone.
I thought ef I felt the whisperin comin on
I could ring up some o th folks.
But Ed wouldnt hear of it.
He said wed paid so much for Neddy
We couldnt hardly git along as twas.
An he never understood me wantin to talk.
Well, this year was worsen all the others;
We had a terrible spell o stormy weather,
An the snow lay so thick
You couldnt see the fences even.
Out o doors was as flat as the palm o my hand,
Ther warnt a hump or a holler
Fer as you could see.
It was so quiet
The snappin o the branches back in the wood-lot
Sounded like pistol shots.
Ed was out all day
Same as usual.
An it seemed he talked lessn ever.
He didnt even say `Good-mornin, once or twice,
An jest nodded or shook his head when I asked him things.
On Monday he said hed got to go over to Benton
Fer some oats.
Id oughter ha gone with him,
But twas washin day
An I was afeared the fine weatherd break,
An I couldnt do my dryin.
All my life Id done my work punctual,
An I couldnt fix my conscience
To go junketin on a washin-day.
I cant tell you what that day was to me.
It dragged an dragged,
Fer ther warnt no Ed ter break it in the middle
Fer dinner.
Every time I stopped stirrin the water
I heerd the whisperin all about me.
I stopped oftenern I should
To see ef twas still ther,
An it alays was.
An gittin louder
It seemed ter me.
Once I threw up the winder to feel the wind.
That seemed most alive somehow.
But the woods looked so kind of menacin
I closed it quick
An started to mangles hards I could,
The squeakin was comfortin.
Well, Ed come home bout four.
I seen him down the road,
An I run out through the shed inter th barn
To meet him quicker.
I hollered out, `Hullo!
But he didnt say nothin,
He jest drove right in
An climbed out o th sleigh
An commenced unharnessin.
I asked him a heap o questions;
Who hed seed
An what hed done.
Once in a while hed nod or shake,
But most o th time he didnt do nothin.
Twas gittin dark then,
An I was in a state,
With the loneliness
An Ed payin no attention
Like somethin warnt livin.
All of a sudden it come,
I dont know what,
But I jest couldnt stand no more.
It didnt seem s though that was Ed,
An it didnt seem as though I was me.
I had to break a way out somehow,
Somethin was closin in
An I was stiflin.
Eds loggin axe was ther,
An I took it.
Oh, my God!
I cant see nothin else afore me all the time.
I run out inter th woods,
Seemed as ef they was pullin me;
An all the time I was wadin through the snow
I seed Ed in front of me
Where Id laid him.
An I see him now.
There!  There!
What you holdin me fer?
I want ter go to Ed,
Hes bleedin.
Stop holdin me.
I got to go.
Im comin, Ed.
Ill be ther in a minit.
Oh, Im so tired!
(Faints)



Amy Lowell's other poems:
  1. The Book of Hours of Sister Clotilde
  2. The Matrix
  3. The Promise of the Morning Star
  4. The Bombardment
  5. Two Travellers in the Place Vendome


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